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KV 39
Amenhetep I (?)

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Tomb entrance.
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Entryway A

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The entrance stairwell is cut into the base of a cliff on the southeast side of a water course leading to the tomb of Thutmes III. Roughly cut stairs descend through a gravel and shale stratum to the entrance gate. The stairs cut into the shale are broken away and the others are damaged.

Architectural Features

Steps

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Width:

    2.75 m
  • Length:

    5.91 m
  • Area:

    16.33 m2
  • Orientation:

    248.99°

Gate B1

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The lintel of the gate is missing, and the roughly cut jambs are damaged.

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.67 m
  • Width:

    1.16 m
  • Length:

    0.82 m
  • Area:

    0.96 m2
  • Volume:

    2.56 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from entryway A

Corridor B1

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This rough-cut sloping corridor has an extension to the left (south) that is cut at its rear (west) end to form chamber B1a. According to Rose, a rough recess in the right (north) wall may be either from rock fall or an abandoned cutting. There are traces of red paint on the ceiling.

Architectural Features

Recess

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.67 m
  • Width:

    1.72 m
  • Length:

    9.19 m
  • Area:

    19.16 m2
  • Volume:

    51.16 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from entryway A

Chamber B1a

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This southward extension at the end of corridor B1 was apparently added secondarily. It gives access to two sets of descending passages to burial chambers on different axes, with a descent in its floor to the rear (south) and a corridor descending to the east from the left (east) wall.

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.04 m
  • Width:

    2.65 m
  • Length:

    2.89 m
  • Area:

    7.53 m2
  • Volume:

    15.36 m3
  • Orientation:

    90° left from corridor B1

Descent B1a

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Steps descend from the center of the floor to the rear (south).

Architectural Features

Steps

Condition

Undecorated
Cutting finished
Excavated
Damaged structurally

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.8 m
  • Width:

    1.21 m
  • Length:

    2.48 m
  • Area:

    3.01 m2
  • Orientation:

    90° left from corridor B1

Corridor B2

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This long corridor is oriented on a west-east axis and descends from the left (east) wall of chamber B1a.

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.04 m
  • Width:

    1.48 m
  • Length:

    16.25 m
  • Area:

    26.72 m2
  • Volume:

    54.51 m3
  • Orientation:

    90° left from chamber B1a

Corridor B3

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This roughly cut narrow corridor descends to the south with three widely spaced drops in floor level.

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.1 m
  • Width:

    1.2 m
  • Length:

    12.19 m
  • Area:

    15.05 m2
  • Volume:

    40.13 m3
  • Orientation:

    90° left from corridor B1

Descent C1

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This stepped descent is cut into the left (south) end of the floor of chamber C1, on the axis of corridor B1.

Architectural Features

Steps

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Undecorated
Damaged structurally

Dimensions

  • Height:

    4.95 m
  • Width:

    2 m
  • Length:

    3.87 m
  • Area:

    5.16 m2
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor B1

Gate C1

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The gate is a low, rough opening and has a rubble-built pillar near the right (north) thickness, perhaps for additional support. Rose describes this pillar, but it is shown only schematically in the published plan. There is damage to the jambs and lintel.

Condition

Excavated
Cutting unfinished
Undecorated
Damaged structurally

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.04 m
  • Width:

    1.84 m
  • Length:

    0.36 m
  • Area:

    0.66 m2
  • Volume:

    15.36 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor B1

Chamber C1

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This rectangular chamber extends to the right (north) of its entrance. There is a stepped descent in the floor at the left (south) end of the chamber.

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.9 m
  • Width:

    3.68 m
  • Length:

    8.1 m
  • Area:

    30 m2
  • Volume:

    87 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor B1

Stairwell C2

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This stairwell, oriented towards the east, immediately follows corridor B2, without any gate between the two components.

Architectural Features

Steps

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    4.47 m
  • Width:

    1.55 m
  • Length:

    7.53 m
  • Area:

    12.46 m2
  • Volume:

    37.8 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor B2

Stairwell C3

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This is the second stairwell in the eastern set of components. There is no intervening gate between these stairs and corridor D1 which precedes it.

Architectural Features

Steps

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    4.6 m
  • Width:

    1.67 m
  • Length:

    5.75 m
  • Area:

    9.59 m2
  • Volume:

    32.96 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor D1

Stairwell C4

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This stairwell, the third major component on the southern axis, has broken steps that first led the excavators to believe that a chamber lay beneath the stairs. This is not the case.

Architectural Features

Steps

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.28 m
  • Width:

    1.27 m
  • Length:

    6.1 m
  • Area:

    7.65 m2
  • Volume:

    17.44 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor B3

Gate D1

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The well-cut gate leads into corridor D1.

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Undecorated
Damaged structurally

Dimensions

  • Height:

    1.98 m
  • Width:

    1.13 m
  • Length:

    1.06 m
  • Area:

    1.17 m2
  • Volume:

    2.32 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from stairwell C2

Corridor D1

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This is the second sloping corridor in the eastern set of components.

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    1.98 m
  • Width:

    1.64 m
  • Length:

    6.83 m
  • Area:

    11.19 m2
  • Volume:

    22.16 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from stairwell C2

Gate D2

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This well-cut gate leads into burial chamber J1.

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Undecorated
Damaged structurally

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2 m
  • Width:

    1.24 m
  • Length:

    0.93 m
  • Area:

    1.16 m2
  • Volume:

    2.32 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from stairwell C3

Corridor D2

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This short, shallow sloping corridor leads to burial chamber J1.

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2 m
  • Width:

    1.75 m
  • Length:

    3.15 m
  • Area:

    5.47 m2
  • Volume:

    10.94 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from stairwell C3

Gate J1

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The gate is well-cut and leads into burial chamber chamberJ1.

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Undecorated
Damaged structurally

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2 m
  • Width:

    1.13 m
  • Length:

    0.83 m
  • Area:

    0.87 m2
  • Volume:

    1.74 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor D2

Burial chamber J1

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This almost-square chamber marks the end of the tomb's eastward passages. It has a low, flat ceiling. There is a large fissure running through it.

  • Chamber plan:

    Rectangular
  • Relationship to main tomb axis:

    Parallel
  • Chamber layout:

    Flat floor, no pillars
  • Floor:

    One level
  • Ceiling:

    Flat

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2 m
  • Width:

    3.92 m
  • Length:

    3.06 m
  • Area:

    12.08 m2
  • Volume:

    24.16 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor D2

Burial chamber J2

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At the end of the south corridors is a very narrow, rectangular chamber. In the floor of this chamber is a pit which would have served as a sarcophagus emplacement.

  • Chamber plan:

    Rectangular
  • Relationship to main tomb axis:

    Parallel
  • Chamber layout:

    Flat floor, no pillars
  • Floor:

    One level
  • Ceiling:

    Flat

Architectural Features

Sarcophagus emplacement

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.43 m
  • Width:

    3.39 m
  • Length:

    7.05 m
  • Area:

    23.83 m2
  • Volume:

    57.91 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from stairwell C4

Details

About

KV 39 is located at the head of a water course on the plateau above and to the south of KV 34. The entryway stairway (A) is cut in the side of the hill below al Qurn followed by a sloping corridor (B1) that has been enlarged to the south at its lower end (B1a). Beyond this corridor, a rectangular chamber (C1) extends to the north of the axis. There is a stepped descent cut on the axis in the floor at the south end of this chamber. Two other descending corridors open off the south extension B1a. One descends southwards from a stairwell in the floor and continues as a rough cut sloping corridor (B3) to another stairwell (C4) leading to a rectangular burial chamber (J2) extending to the east with a pit in the floor beneath the rear wall. The other set of passages extends on a west-east axis parallel to the entrance.

A sloping corridor (B2) descends to a stairwell (C2) followed by a second corridor ( D1) and stairwell (C3), a short corridor (D2) and a low rectangular burial chamber (J1). Weigall's description of the tomb suggests that some decoration remained intact at the time of his entry. All traces of decoration were obliterated by the time Rose cleared the tomb. Weigall based his belief that the tomb belonged to Amenhetep I on perceived similarities of position between KV 39 and that described for Amenhetep I's tomb in the tomb robbery papyri.

Noteworthy features:

The tomb descends in three different directions on three axes. Each axis consists of a series of corridors and two at least end in rectangular chambers.

Site History

There appear to have been three construction phases, suggested by differences in architectural typology and the orientation of component groups. Entryway A, corridor B1, and chamber C1 and its descent would have been cut first, and suggest a date in the first half of Dynasty 18. Following a southward extension at the end of the corridor B1, two other complexes of corridors and stairs leading to burial chambers were cut to the south and to the east, although it is not certain in which order these were done.

Dating

This site was used during the following period(s):

New Kingdom
Dynasty 18

Exploration

1900: Discovery
Andraos, Boutros
1900: Discovery
Macarios, C.
1900: Excavation
Macarios, C.
1989, 1991-1994: Excavation
Rose, John
1916: Visit
Carter, Howard
1900: Excavation
Andraos, Boutros
2001-: Excavation
Buckley, Ian
2001-: Mapping/planning
Buckley, Ian

Conservation

Site Condition

The upper components of the tomb are cut in poor quality shale and preserve less of their original surfaces. The lower corridors and chambers are cut in better limestone, although several large cracks or fissures have led to structural damage as rock has fallen away. The lower chambers to the east were partly filled with debris by the 1994 floods, although they are still accessible. The southern corridors and chamber were completely filled up to descent B1a.

Resources

Bibliography

See All

Buckley, Ian M., Peter Buckley and Ashley Cooke.  Fieldwork in Theban Tomb KV 39: The 2002 Season.  Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 91 (2005): 71-82.

Buckley, Ian M.  Excavations at Theban Tomb KV 39.  In: Ashley Cooke and Fiona Simpson (eds.), Current Research in Egyptology, II (= BAR International Series, 1380).  Oxford, 2005.  Pp. 21-28.

Carter, Howard.  Report on the Tomb of Zeser-ka-ra Amenhetep I, Discovered by the Earl of Carnarvon in 1914. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 3 (1916): 147-54.

Helck, Wolfgang.  Königsgräbertal.  Wolfgang Helk, Ebrnart Otto and Wolfhart Westendorf (eds.). elck, Evbermnart Lexikon der Ägyptologie, 3. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1980.  Pp. 520.

Manley, Bill.  Tomb 39 and the Sacred Land.  Journal of the Ancient Chronology Forum 2 (1989): 41-57.

Polz, Daniel K.    The Location of the Tomb of Amenhotep I: A Reconsideration.  In:  Richard H. Wilkinson (ed.), Valley of the Sun Kings: New Explorations in the Tombs of the Pharaohs.  Tucson: University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition, 1995.  Pp. 8-21.

Porter, Bertha and Rosalind Moss.  Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Text, Reliefs, and Paintings. I, 2. The Theban Necropolis: Royal Tombs and Smaller Cemeteries.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964.  Pp. 559.

Reeves, Carl Nicholas.  Valley of the Kings: The Decline of a Royal Necropolis (= Studies in Egyptology).  London:  KPI, 1990. Pp. 155.

Rose, John.  An Interim Report on Work in KV 39, September-October 1989.  In:  Nicholas Reeves (ed.),  After Tut'ankhamun: Research and Excavation in the Royal Necropolis at Thebes.  London: KPI, 1992: 28-40.

Measurements

Maximum height:

4.95 m

Minimum width:

1.13 m

Maximum width:

3.92 m

Total length:

104.35 m

Total area:

210.05 m²

Total volume:

475.83 m³

Additional Tomb Information

Owner type:

Unknown, possibly royal

Entrance location:

Hillside

Entrance type:

Staircase

Interior layout:

Corridors and chambers

Axis type:

Bent

Categories of Objects Recovered

Architectural elements
Clothing
Food
Human mummies
Jewelry
Mummy trappings
Religious objects
Tomb equipment
Vessels
Written documents

Hieroglyphs

Amenhetep I

King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Sacred is the Soul of Ra; Son of Ra, Amen is Satisfied

Nisut-Bity Djeser-Ka-Ra Sa-Ra Amun-Hetep